The Chicago Bears waved good bye to Nick Roach and Brian Urlacher and within 48 hours they signed D.J. Williams and James Anderson.
The two additions were more than just some grasping at straws signings, both are accomplished linebackers and who could upgrade the Bears linebacker corps.
Before off the field issues, Williams was considered one of the top middle linebackers in the NFL and James Anderson was cut for salary cap reasons, not because of a loss of ability.
Both players have experience in playing in 3-4 or 4-3 defenses, new defensive coordinator Mel Tucker likes to switch between the two and gives him a lot of versatility.
The Bears still will run the cover 2 style, but there will be some new nuances. According to Michael Wright of ESPN.com, losing Urlacher may hurt the traditional Bears fan, but in essence Chicago may have gotten better overall. Wright writes:
‘The latest moves might also signify a shift away from the Tampa 2 scheme the club had run over the years to a more traditional 4-3 front, which might actually diminish Urlacher's value to the Bears.
New defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said the team plans to keep the defense close to the same as it's been in the past. But during Tucker's tenure in Jacksonville, the Jaguars indeed played a 4-3 front (they experimented with some 3-4 early on before tossing it), but utilized some 3-4 philosophies with regard to how linebackers leveraged blocks.
Anderson and Williams, who has experience playing in a 4-3 and 3-4 front, seem well suited to serve as the "run-and-hit" type of linebackers Tucker likes to utilize in his defenses. They also add a pass-rushing element the Bears didn't possess before with Urlacher and Roach.’